What Is a Virtual Tour?
Virtual = Possible
a beautiful definition of this notion.
The term virtual designates a concept applied to many domains where it gathers various non-unitary connotations. In philosophy, for instance, virtuality is the quality of an entity whereby that entity is not actual but, even as such, it bears certain characteristics very similar or even identical to those of a corresponding actual object. In common language, virtual may also designate an actual object whose material actuation differs from the actual corresponding object. (Wikipedia)
What is a virtual tour?
It is a walk-through or a visit, it may be a documentation or information process or a detailed research.
An area, a museum, a gallery, a cathedral or an event, a clinic or a hotel.
The key element of a virtual tour is the panorama.
First, we choose a spot in the space, then we take a set of photographs that cover 360 degrees.
As we stitch the photographs, the panoramic image is born.
The virtual tour is composed of one or more panoramic images. Professional virtual tours may include tens of such interconnected panoramas.
The virtual tour allows the navigator to explore a location in detail as though he/she were actually there.
The tour can be very simple, made of a single panorama, - such as for a small shop, a small gallery -, or, it can cover bigger projects, like a museum, and include tens, even hundreds of panoramas.
By comparison, a photography “freezes” the image of just one part of the space at one specific moment, whereas a movie shows the space over a limited period of time, in a sequence of images that is determined by the producer’s partiality.
A complex virtual tour is an uniform and interactive ensemble; it is realistic, objective and exhaustive, and it allows the viewing of all details without any time constraints.
A simple visit, besides its documentary or informational purpose, can be transformed in an experience by exploration.
Various files can be attached to the virtual tour in order to make the visit more agreeable:
music, sound or voice - to create a more pleasant atmosphere
map - to locate the space in the city/region
floor plan - to smooth the navigation to different floors
photos - electronically linked to the virtual tour, they help understand the object / subject matter or observe special details
texts - information, history or any other reference that can complete the whole picture
links - electronic references to other virtual tours or websites can facilitate the access to a comprehensive image
video inserts - either independent ones or linked to projections
The utility of the virtual tour is vast: presentation, promotion, documentation, archiving, research, restoration and more.